Growing up in a rural farming community, we all got together for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. Family, extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors all brought their special food to share on these two very family oriented days. We gave thanks that we had health, not particularly wealth; but we all had the joy of spending time together sharing stories, food and joy. As I grew older, going to college, losing my father, watching my own mother deteriorate with bi-polar disorder I noticed the get-togethers were den-dolling. We just didn’t get together anymore. Grandparents were getting older, aunts and uncles did not want to take on the responsibility, so what happened I am not sure. I moved further away to continue my studies and had dinner with a cousin while in LA, but there was no extended family invited anymore. They were either less, or not close. I often wonder what happened to them all, as I have never kept in touch.
As I married, my late husband was close to his family, so they became my family and as we grew our family we all got together. We tried to include my own mother, but it was difficult as she suffered from bi-polarism and no longer related to the outside world. My brother eventually married and they added to our circle of holiday celebration. Once again time passed, we added friends to our celebrations and it felt like home to me.
At forty I was widowed, and it seemed my extended family went away. I kept trying to have the holidays, but the joy was no longer there for me for many years. A few close friends stayed, but living far away we did not get together for holidays. Often it would be just my boys and me for the celebration and as they grew older and moved on in their lives, coming home for the holidays was no longer important to them. I watch families get together on the holidays on Facebook and am sad that mine are no longer with me on those two days a year. We talk and I hear about their parities or where they went, but somehow it makes me sad that I am no longer a real part of it all.
I used to look forward to the happy days together. This year I cooked for two days, for my one son and my husband and we sat down and were done in fifteen minutes. What do you do to make the holidays a celebration as you get older? Moving to another small city I seem to have lost the friends I had that lived a mere ten miles away. Guess life changes and you either accept the changes or do something to change it. You can’t do it over and it does no good to complain. No one listens or they think you are a grump. I am not complaining, I am just wondering what you do to make it better. Maybe I need a new community.